Former West Indies fast bowler Tony Gray is one of the facilitators at the Cricket West Indies (CWI) and England and Wales Cricket Board Level Three Coaching Programme which began at Coolidge Cricket Ground, in Antigua, yesterday.
The programme features 25 regional coaches with Level Two certification from all six regional territories and the ICC Americas.
The programme is being held over eight days and some of the areas of focus are decision-making, captaincy, individuality for coach and player, team coaching and leadership, to name a few. Video analysis is also a key area. The course will be completed when final individual assessments are carried out in February 2018.
The lead tutor from the ECB is Tim Dellor and he is accompanied by seven colleagues. Gray, a level three coach and level three assessor, said, “They called me to help them facilitate this part of the workshop on pace bowling because they wanted a former West Indies bowler I suspect.”
The dominant West Indies teams of the 1970s and 1980s were known for their fearsome fast bowlers such as Sir Andy Roberts, Malcolm Marshall, Michael Holding, Joel Garner and Colin Croft to name a few. Courtney Walsh and Sir Curtly Ambrose took over the mantle and carried it into the 1990s.
Gray, who played five Test matches and 25 One Day Internationals for West Indies, says he understands why the standard of fast bowling in the region has declined.
“Having played with the West Indies team over the years and having seen the quality of fast bowlers and understanding why we have seen a diminishing of the quality, I am not going to be too critical. I think in this era, coaches have to work harder with fast bowlers.”
Gray explained that when he was a fast bowler in the 1980s and 1990s, cricketers were more athletic because lifestyles were different. He said people would participate in more outdoor activities that built strength and conditioning which made it easier to become a great fast bowler.
Director of Cricket West Indies, Jimmy Adams, believes the coaching course will be a success.
“It falls in line with CWI’s mandate to continue its programme of elite coaching development within the region. The addition of the coaches from the ICC Americas is an indication of our support for cricket development in the Americas,” he said.
Adams pointed out, “It is important to ensure that our neighbouring Associates have access to our development programmes in line with our commitment to helping them to improve standards.”
Additionally, another 25 coaches have been elected to sit a CWI Level One course in St Kitts which started yesterday. The course will be lead by CWI tutors Junie Mitchum and Kumar Rampat and will run until Saturday. The venue for the course is at Conaree.